Tag Archives: Montana

Lend-Lease Monument



Camera: Rolleiflex 3.5MX; Film: Kodak 120, TMax100

The Lend-Lease Monument is located in Griffin Park, downtown Fairbanks, near Golden Heart Plaza, alongside the Chena River.

The Lend-Lease Act was originally passed in March 1941, with the Soviet Union being added to the program in October of the same year.  The Northwest Staging Route, from the mainland of the U.S. through Canada and into Alaska, was extended into the Soviet Union with the Alaska-Siberian Airway (ALSIB).


Map of ALSIB; cell phone photo

Planes were ferried from locations like Buffalo, NY; Minneapolis, MN; St Louis, MO; and Oklahoma City, OK to Great Falls, MT.  Airfields were carved out of the wilderness from Montana through Canada and on to Ladd Field in Fairbanks.  Most airfields were built 100 miles apart, with the longest being between Fort Nelson, BC and Liard River, which was 140 miles.  The Alaska Highway would soon be completed linking the airfields together by road.

Camera: Rolleiflex 3.5MX; Film: Kodak 120, TMax100

The first Soviet pilots landed in Nome on 14 August 1942.  The Soviets took over the aircraft at either Ladd Field in Fairbanks or at Nome, then flew across the Bering Strait to Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.

Over 8000 aircraft flew through Ladd Field in Fairbanks on their way to the Soviet Union.  Between October 1941 and the end of May 1945 the U.S. provided the USSR with nearly a half-million vehicles other than aircraft, 2 million tons of gasoline and oil, and close to 4.5 million tons of food.  Of the 8000 aircraft, 133 were lost.  The average time to ferry an aircraft to the Soviet Union was 33 days.

Some of the aircraft ferried:

The Bell P-39 Airacobra, followed by the P-63 Kingcobra its successor, the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, and Rebublic P-47 Thunderbolt.  Bombers ferried included the Douglas A-20 Havoc and North American’s B-25 Mitchell.  Most of the transports ferried were the Douglas C-47 Skytrain.

“The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation… it must be a peace which rests on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”  

Franklin Delano Roosevelt




Lurking for salmon

Photo by Robert Hawthorne

Since we’re in the middle of Katmai Week here between The Circles, I wanted to share this photo, although probably not for the reasons many would think.

The pic above was taken of two fishermen in Katmai National Park. I’ve found myself in a similar situation while fishing Alaska’s rivers. Once was with my Dad, which was more nerve-wracking than when I was solo! Forget the bear, I was worried about how my Dad would react.

What I love about this picture, from all my time in Alaska, is that the bear actually has little to no interest in the fishermen. The bear simply has salmon on its mind. We don’t have two fishermen in the picture, but three.

If given half the chance, man can live with wildlife. The two species above, can coexist. Katmai NP&P is a prime example of that. I would hope that is the lesson the photograph has to give. After all, Alaska would be a much poorer place without her bears.

The photo was taken in July by Robert Hawthorne, a photographer out of Bozeman, Montana. His link is below:


Sunset by Rail

A sunset in Montana, while riding Amtrak’s Empire Builder.

Camera: Leica M3; Film: Kodak 35mm, Ektar 100

Custer National Cemetery

Bighorn County, Montana

Custer National Cemetery

These are from a past Rover Roadtrip.

Big Sky Country.

The head stones, just like the plains of Montana, seem to go on forever.

I remember it was a hot, dry, spring day, on this visit to the Little Bighorn Battlefield.

Indian Memorial Sculpture at Little Bighorn

Camera: Kodak 66; Film: Kodak 120 T-Max 100

6 Years Ago

The Rover in Montana
The Rover after pushing through a blizzard near Flathead Lake, Montana

It was six years ago, when The Rover & I traveled through the portal and back into Montana, en route to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. I could use a good, long-distance road trip now, as much as I did then.

The man (& Rover) need a plan.

Generations Past; Oil on Canvas

“Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action.”

—John Muir, “The Mountains of California”

Painting of Lolo Pass: “Generations Passed” – Oil on canvas by John Potter

Jefferson River

Jefferson River

August 4th, Sunday, 1805

“Proceeded on verry early and Brackfast at the Camp Capt Lewis left yesterday morning; at this Camp he left a note informing that he discovered no fresh Sign of Indian &c.  The river continued to be crouded with Islands, Sholey rapid & clear; I could not walk on shore to day as my ankle was Sore from a tumer on that part.  The method we are compelled to take to get on is fatigueing & laborious in the extreen, haul the Canoes over the rapids, which Suckceed each other every two or three hundred yards and between the water rapid oblige [us] to towe & walke on stones the whole day except when we have poleing; men wet all day, Sore feet, &c, &c.”

———————William Clark


Monday August 5th 1805

The river today [Capt Clark] found streighter and more rapid even than yesterday, and the labour and difficulty of the navigation was proportionably increased; they therefore proceeded but slowly and with great pain as the men had become very languid from working in the water and many of their feet swolen and so painfull that they could scarcely walk. At 4 p.m. they arrived at the confluence of the two rivers where I had left [another] note. This note had unfortunately been placed on a green pole which the beaver had cut and carried off together with the note; the possibility of such an occurrence never onc occurred to me when I placed it on the green pole.  This accedent deprived Capt Clark of any information with ripect to the country, and supposing that the rapid fork was most in the direction which it was proper we should pursue, or West, he took that stream and asscended it with much difficulty about a mile and encamped on an islandthat had been lately overflown and was yet damp; they were therefore compelled to make beds of brush to keep themselves out of the mud.  in ascending this stream for about a quarter of a mile, it scattered in such a manner that they were obliged to cut a passage through willow brush which leant over the little channels and united their tops.”

———————-Meriwether Lewis

From The Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition


“Above its junction with the Madison, the Jefferson wanders, staggers, and crankles, flushing half its waters askew, the other awry, and throughout its upper and lower miles manifests little urge to go anywhere other than sideways; when it’s not hunting a new route or sending one channel off in search of two others, it will flow properly just long enough to fool a boatman.  In short, it is the little Jefferson that puts the mischief into the big Missouri, and, like its descendant, it seems always to ask ‘Where am I?’ although it stays not for an answer.”

———————William Least Heat-Moon, “River-Horse”  c1999

Montana Campsite

Deadman's Basin

Here’s a shot from Deadman’s Basin as the sun set.  The camera did a good job of actually catching the deep blue of Montana’s sky that night.

Lolo Pass




10 May 2013

I think I could just drive and drive and drive, checking out all that the American West has to offer. I never tire of the exploration out here.
A beautiful drive through the Helena Natl Forest. I’m thoroughly enjoying US Route 12. Today was my first visit to Helena. In all my visits to Montana I had never been to its capital. You have to love a city that calls one of the main drags: Last Chance Gulch. Not to mention, N Last Chance Gulch.

Did a quick pit stop in Missoula, before driving south to Lolo. I just love this part of the state, and the land along Lolo Creek looked like a great place for a cabin. The creek was high though, and I saw a couple of newly installed tubular levies put up to keep the rising water from homes.

Lolo Pass is a phenomenal drive, even in the lumbering Rover. I kept stopping at all the historical markers, which there are many, simply because I knew most would be about Lewis & Clark.
Coming around a sharp curve, I found a new Fiat 500 broadside to my grill. The 500 driver must have been “testing” the Fiats handling, as he swept his way around the curve and sideways into my lane and The Rover. I braked, but there wasn’t anywhere else to go, so I watched uneasily as the Fiat smoothly righted itself and zoomed off with only inches to spare.

It’s hard to be angry when you’re envious.

On the Montana side of the Forest, all access was still “Closed for the Season”, but Idaho wasn’t as soft. Maybe it was all for the best, because I’m camped at the best site I’ve had so far on this trip. The Lochsa River is roaring right behind my camp. In fact, I’m writing this now as I sit in my campchair on its bank.
We had rain & hail earlier as I grilled dinner. The sky has since cleared, and a thick mist has formed over the torrent of the Lochsa.
I think I’m going to sleep very well tonight.

Deadman’s Basin




9 May 2013

The last time I camped here, the weather was just as nice as it is tonight. I went to bed, leaving the stove and other things out, to be put away in the morning. I was awaken by the tent wall slamming into me from the high winds and when I crawled out from the tent, everything was covered in 6″ of snow. By the time i broke camp, I was soaking wet and ate a bagel for breakfast that had been thawed over the defroster.

Luckily, not everything repeats itself. A beautiful night camped here along the shoreline. I even had a campfire tonight after grilling up some more venison.

The Basin lies across Hwy 12 from the Musselshell. It’s incredibly quiet out here tonight, with only the sound of the waves hitting shore and the pine crackling in the firepit.